On this All Saints Day, Melissa preached from 1 Kings 5:1-5 & 8:1-13 about the new temple of God the Israelites built under Solomon’s rule. The priests tried to contain God in the temple, just as we try to contain God. We try to domesticate God, but God spills out all over the world and cannot be contained.
Melissa preached from Genesis 27:1-29, 28:1-10, the story of Jacob stealing his father Isaac’s blessing from his twin brother Esau.
In this world there are the winners and losers. Those who have and those who are left behind. At the outset of the story, Jacob is out to be one of those who has, and his mother Rebekah is going to help make it happen.
Maybe the story of Jacob and Esau is a chance to see God’s sovereignty in a new way. God’s ability to move in the world can coexist with us being wrong. Maybe this story helps us to see that God’s sovereign work is not just to undo this wrong, but to undo us. Jacob then spends the rest of his life undoing what he’s done; returning the blessing he stole back to Esau. That’s how God works in world, setting things right.
Melissa spoke today from Matthew 16:21-28 and Romans 12:9-21. In the Roman empire, the cross was the public warning against dissent. A symbol of the human ability to crush revolution. Today, the cross of Jesus Christ is the black hood of Abu Ghraib, it’s the gun that killed Trayvon Martin, it’s every lethal cocktail used in capital punishment, it’s every lynching tree in the North Carolina woods, it is every cage for bail-held prisoners.
We don’t need icons of paint or wood; we don’t need depictions of Jesus on a cross. We have one another. We have living icons. Bodies shouldering crosses everyday, showing us that we are strong enough, that the world cannot crush us, and even if it does, that we will rise again.
Using Romans 12:1-8 as her text, Melissa talks about why we worship. Worship is for us. Worship is always about God, but it’s not something that God needs. We’re here to celebrate; to celebrate the life we have through Jesus.
Worship is not something you do and leave behind. You take it with you wherever you go. Worship is done in community. We come here–among other reasons–to discover how to like each other, even with our bizarre particularities!
Melissa spoke from Psalm 100 and Romans 5:1-8. God doesn’t change God’s mind about you; you change your mind about God. Sin is pernicious because it warps this most central part of the Christian life – it warps our image of God. Sin turns God into a judge, standing in judgment over us, waiting to pounce on our wrong decisions. If you have rejected that God then you are exactly where God wants you to be.
You don’t come to confession to have your sins forgiven; you come to celebrate that your sins are forgiven. The grace we receive is unexpected and unearned.
Prior to the message, Anali read St Teresa of Avila’s poem, Christ Has No Body. Melissa then spoke from John 14:1-21, where Jesus was preparing his disciples to physically be away from them, but promised to continue to show them the way. It confuses the disciples. Christ lived on through his disciples and he lives on today through us.
On this Covenant Sunday, we take time to share how we’ve seen Jesus in each other, how we’ve been the church, together. Part of the message included an opportunity for us to share stories of how this church has been the hands, feet, eyes and ears of Jesus for each other. Because some of stories shared were personal in nature, the full recording is not publicly available.
For regular attenders who would like to hear the stories, reach out to Stan and he can share the rest of the message with you.
Melissa spoke today on the joys and difficulties of “being church” together, based on Acts 2:42-47. Sharing our lives together can be messy, as well as life-giving. It’s only possible because the winds of the Holy Spirit move among us. What will expose the bonds of love?